16 fantastic places to visit in Europe in February

Arctic Cathedral with snow around it

Are you looking for an unforgettable February getaway in Europe? Myself and other expert travel bloggers have put together this list of the best place to visit in Europe in February in this post!

There’s so much to see in Europe, even in the middle of winter.

While it’s certainly not the warmest month of the year, you don’t need brilliant sunny weather to enjoy Europe.

February is an excellent time to explore the continent’s fascinating culture, rich history and breathtaking landscapes.

It may be cold and frosty in some parts of Europe, but there are chances to make the most of this with snowsports; plus many places on the continent look like winter wonderlands when covered in a blanket of glistening white snow!

Warm up by taking a dip in a geothermal pool in Iceland or take a boat through the frozen Norwegian fjords.

Alternatively, take a city break – perhaps for a romantic Valentine’s getaway to admire Gothic architecture in cities like Paris, or enjoy the Barcelona carnival and other festivities throughout the continent. 

The hours of sunshine per day are increasing all over Europe, and you can enjoy the winter sun in the Canary Islands and other Southern Europe destinations. 

In this blog post, I’ve asked some expert travel bloggers about their favourite places to visit in Europe in February. 

We’ll highlight some of the best places to visit in Europe during this month and explain why it’s the perfect time to visit many destinations!

This blog post may contain affiliate links. 

Places to visit in Europe in February

The best places to visit in Europe in February include Western Europe capitals like Paris, destinations like Tromsø to chase the northern lights and cities such as Venice and Barcelona where you can bask in carnival celebrations during Mardi Gras.

Tromsø, Norway

View of the Arctic Cathedral, Tromso bridge and the mountains in the background.

Tromsø, located in northern Norway, is often renowned as the unofficial capital city of the Arctic!

A fascinating destination for travelers looking for a winter wonderland experience, Tromso is ideal in February for northern lights chasing and seeing the Arctic as its coldest – the way everyone imagines it to be!

Tromso city has a vibrant cultural scene, with many museums and galleries, such as the Polar Museum and Troll Museum, showcasing the region’s history and customs.

Lit up buildings in Tromso with a reflection over the water

6th February is Sami National Day in Norway – this is a celebration for the Sami (Indigenous Norwegian) people to honor their rich history, heritage and culture.

There are plenty of celebrations in the city during this time, including the Arctic market and reindeer racing championships; one of the best ways to see reindeer in Tromsø!

Reindeer at a Sami camp, grazing in the snow

You can enjoy a plethora of winter activities on offer in the surroundings around Tromsø too. Enjoy cross-country or downhill skiing, snowshoe to epic viewpoints or go dog sledding across the epic landscape. 

If you need to warm up, head to Pust sauna.

Swimming in the chilly arctic waters in February, outside of Pust sauna

This is a small sauna (it must be booked in advance), where you can warm up and then jump straight into the Arctic waters.

It’s a chilly 2°C (35.6°F) in February, but it’s an invigorating way to start the day – it’s definitely one of the best Tromsø winter activities!

Check out the best places to visit in Norway in winter here!

Cadiz, Spain

February is the perfect time of the year to travel to the port city of Cadiz in southern Spain.

When February rolls around, the carnival of Cadiz fills up the streets with parades and festive tourists and locals.

In fact, this is the oldest carnival in Spain – it dates back to when Cadiz traded with the New World and Venice.

The sailors saw Venice Carnival and wanted to create something similar at home and so they did – but with a local twist!

Besides the daytime parades, you’ll see groups of singers caroling on street corners – they’re usually singing comedy about the city!

There are also concerts in the big squares in town.

Going to the carnival is truly one of the best things to do in Cadiz, but as one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, there is a lot more to see if you plan your visit well!

Historic buildings in Cadiz, spread out in a panorama, with blue sea and sky in the background.

Cadiz Cathedral is the most prominent attraction in Cadiz and you can climb the clock tower – from the top, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city.

But you’ll find even better views at Torre Tavira, the highest and only watchtower you can visit.

You can also stroll along the coastline to explore the city’s two castles, Santa Catalina Castle and San Sebastian Castle.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, the comfortable Hotel Boutique Convento Cádiz is a stylish boutique hotel in the heart of the city centre. 

By Linn from Amused by Andalucia

Zakopane, Poland

Are you seeking snow? 

Enjoy the winter season in February by visiting Zakopane, Poland.

Tatra mountain landscape of zakopane with wooden cottages. Panoramic beautiful winter inspirational landscape view.

This is a small mountain town located in the majestic Tatra Mountains and is an absolute winter paradise for outdoor adventurers – as well as anyone who is looking to experience pure relaxation.

The small town is home to several ski resorts, making it a crowd-favorite destination for anyone looking to ski or snowboard.

Alternatively, if you prefer to take in local culture, walk along Krupowki Street.

Here, you’ll find plenty of stalls selling hand-crafted goods, souvenirs, traditional foods, and all sorts of clothes.

When you’re ready to relax, warm up at one of the nearby thermal pools. The water temperature of these pools is about 90-98°F and it’s sourced directly from the mountains!

If you’re looking for places to stay, choose the Aries Hotel and Spa. This hotel boasts all the necessary amenities to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible!

By Kristin from Global Travel Escapades

Check out my guide to visiting Zakopane in winter here!

Helsinki, Finland

Senate Square in Helsinki, with darkening sky above and snow on the ground.

The capital of Finland, Helsinki is located by the coast of the Baltic Sea.

With a rich history and strong cultural influence, it has been nicknamed the “Daughter of the Baltic”. While it’s cold in the winter months, it’s one of the best places to visit in Europe in February! 

The snowy period in Helsinki can last for five to six months – from the end of October to mid-April and the average temperature hovers around freezing throughout February.

It is easy to plan a winter itinerary in Helsinki; there are so many unique activities to do and keep warm. It’s the best month to visit a traditional Finnish Sauna and get warmed up before heading out and exploring!

Take a walk in the city center and discover the many world-class art and history museums, including the Ateneum, Kiasma, National Museum, and the Design Museum in the Design District. All these museums offer free entry with a Helsinki Card.

Helsinki is also filled with interesting architecture such as the Tempopeliaukio Kirkko is a Lutheran Church carved into solid granite, featuring an impressive pipe organ. To go a bit further, take a ferry and sail across the frozen harbor to Suomenlinna, one of the most important heritage sites in Finland.

The Helsinki Cathedral is the city’s iconic landmark, and no visit to the capital is complete without taking pictures of the building. There are a number of popular attractions around Senate Square. Hop on the SkyWheel Helsinki, it is the only observation wheel in the world with a SkySauna.

Hotel F6 is a hip and chic boutique hotel in the city center and it’s within a short walking distance of Senate Square.

By Kenny from Knycx Journeying

Paris, France

Gothic architecture illuminated against the dark sky in Paris.

Paris is a rare city that is magnificent to visit year-round — with so much beauty and plenty of outdoor and indoor attractions, Paris never quite has an off-season.

This is one reason why Paris is particularly delightful in February. It’s one of the least touristed months of the year, which means you won’t have to fight huge crowds to get into the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay, and you can get a glimpse of the more typical Parisian lifestyle.

Spend your days getting lost in the culture-rich, boutique-filled streets of Marais, the best area to stay in Paris — or head St. Germain to cafe-hop in the steps of Hemingway or Sartre, or wander the steep winding streets of Montmartre that are straight out of Amélie.

And if you’re looking for a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day, you can’t do better than Paris! This is the chance to splurge on something special, like an evening of champagne tasting or tickets to the spectacular show at the Moulin Rouge.

Just be warned that visiting Paris in February may ruin the city for you — after seeing how good this month is, you might never want to return in summer!

By Kate from Adventurous Kate

Venice, Italy

Sunset over a canal of Venice with buidlings on either side

Venice is worth visiting all year round, but February is the month when the most eagerly awaited event of the year takes place: Carnival!

The Venetian Carnival is one of the most famous Carnivals in the world and Venetians have celebrated it since the year 1094.

During this month, hoards of tourists pour into the ‘calli’ (narrow streets) of the city, transforming them into a whirlwind of colorful masks and costumes capable of reviving even the greyest of winter days.

Around this time of the year, temperatures are between 6°C (42.8°F) and 10°C (50°F) and rainy days are normal.

The best things to do in Venice include the chance to try local foods such as the cicchetti and fritole veneziane, which is a typical Carnival treat.

Aside from the Carnival, another good reason to be in Venice in February, is for Valentine’s Day.

During Valentine’s Day, you can ride a gondola to see the city from a unique perspective with your other half.

Then at the end of the ride, watch the sunset from the Rialto Bridge, which is the most famous bridge in Venice. For the most extravagant stay, check out the Palazzo Experimental, a contemporary style 4-star hotel with canal views.

By Maddalena from Venice Travel Tips

Santorini, Greece

The beautiful white buildings of Santorini against the bright blue Mediterranean waters.

With stunning views of the Aegean Sea, warmer weather than many other places in the continent, fewer crowds, lower prices than the summer months and vibrant culture, Santorini is an ideal February destination.

It might be windy at that time of the year, but still, you can expect lots of sunshine!

In February, the beaches in Santorini are nearly empty and perfect to soak up some sun in silence.

Another plus is the green, lush vegetation on the island, which make the whole scenery absolutely stunning – even more beautiful than in the summer months!

The mild Mediterranean climate during this time of year makes Santorini Island an ideal spot for outdoor activities.

You can explore Oia without any crowds, visit amazing archaeological sites or take a boat tour to the neighboring islands.

You’ll still find plenty of restaurants and bars open in February, along with shops and markets that offer unique local products – like creamy Greek feta cheese and Kalamata olives!

By Martina from PlacesofJuma

Hamburg, Germany

A view over Hamburg city, with the church on the left, with a dusting of snow covering it.

One of the best places to visit in Europe in February is Hamburg, Germany.

Although it is the second largest city in Germany and has countless fascinating attractions, it is often overlooked by cities like Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt. It’s also easy to get to, with its own international airport.

Hamburg has a chocolate museum, zoo, and many parks and outdoor spaces.

There are also a lot of free things to do in Hamburg, which is ideal if you’re traveling on a budget.

Don’t miss the Speicherstadt district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s largest complex of warehouses, spanning an area of 260,000 square meters.

February in particular is a good time to visit Hamburg because it is much less crowded. At the end of February, the city also celebrates Carnival, where you’ll see masks, costumes, parades, and lots of beer. Many venues will also have live music.

For your February trip, consider staying at the Citadines Michel Hamburg. It’s in a great location; within walking distance of attractions and public transportation stations.

By Vicky from Buddy The Traveling Monkey

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Cortina d'Ampezzo, a city in Italy, with buildings on either side and a church tower in the background.

Located in the Italian Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a fantastic European destination to visit in February.

There are many things to do in Cortina in February, such as winter sports, skiing, riding cable cars and exploring the picturesque town.

Cortina has a great vibe in February and is covered in snow – in fact, February is the snowiest month in Cortina with over 330mm of snow falling!

Cortina has some of the best skiing in the Alps with more than 120 kilometers/ 75 miles of slopes. If you want a change from skiing you can try snowshoeing, snowboarding or even tobogganing!

Even if you aren’t keen on snow sports, definitely go on the cable car up to the mountains – the views from the top are absolutely stunning and there are even some restaurants at the top!

If you’d prefer to admire the mountains from below, visit the pedestrianised Corso Italia – Cortina’s main street.

Cortina is lively with plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars with terraces where you can enjoy the views with an Aperol spritz, hot chocolate, mulled wine or the winter drink Bombardino (an Italian egg nog)!

February is peak season in Cortina so book your accommodation in advance! Hotel Cortina comes highly recommended. 

By Catrina from 24 Hours Layover

Viareggio, Italy

Viareggo in Italy, with boats on either side of the canal.

A lovely coastal city situated in Tuscany, Viareggio livens up in February during carnival festivities.

Competing with Venice for the crown of the most famous carnival in Italy and Europe, Viareggio has one of the largest celebrations in Italy. The parade has a very ancient history, with the first one held in 1873.

The celebrations take place from February and reach their peak on the last Saturday, after Ash Wednesday.

Huge and colored chariots invade the city’s most famous road, the hyped pedestrian road along the docks and seaside resorts.

The festivities start during the afternoon with the parade and last long after the sunset when the party goes on in the bars and nightclubs in the area.

To celebrate this tradition you can taste one of the best deserts in the area, chiacchere. Literally translated as “gossip”, these delicious fried biscuits are made with the same dough as pizza and covered with icing sugar.

Some variations add chocolate on top or also pistachio cream.

Without a doubt, Viareggio is one of the best destinations to visit in February for the incredible Carnival!

But don’t miss the surrounding areas while you’re in Viareggio. 

Even though the beach looks less attractive in Winter, there are many other locations to visit on a day trip without crowds, such as Henraux abandoned marble quarry or Villa Reale di Marlia, and Lucca.

By Anita from Anita Beyond the Sea

Matera, Italy

Matera in Italy

Famous for its more than 1600 stone-carved cave dwellings (including cave churches and homes) and hundreds of stone buildings (such as stone-cut monasteries, stone palaces, and stone houses),  the stone-carved Matera is one of the most spectacular places on earth – and it’s a fantastic place to visit in February!

Today many cave homes are turned into cave hotels, cave restaurants, and cave cafes and shops in Matera. 

There are lots of things to do in Matera, including visiting some of the most famous cave churches, dining in a romantic cave restaurant, and sleeping in a cave hotel or a stone-carved palace like Palazzo Gattini Luxury Hotel.

Magical Matera was the filming location of No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie – the movie’s main protagonists slept in the gorgeous Palazzo Gattini in Matera.

Palazzo Gattini Luxury Hotel has elegant rooms, stone bathrooms, a wellness center set in an ancient cistern, and a thermal pool.

Matera and the Palazzo Gattini Luxury Hotel are perfect places for couples to have the most magical Valentine’s Day!

As Matera is in the sunny Basilicata region near the heel of the Italian boot, the average daily high in Matera in February is 13°C (55°F) and there is more sunshine than many other places in Italy and the rest of Europe. After all, Matera is in the sun-kissed Italian south!

Matera gets fewer crowds in February than in summer, the peak of tourist season.

For the same reason, accommodations in Matera are cheaper in February than during the high tourist season.

By Milijana from World Travel Connector

Nice, France

A main square of Nice in France, with black and white tiles and the pink and yellow buildings in the background.

Located on the French Riviera, Nice is one of France’s most popular tourist destinations and is well-known for its beautiful climate and architecture.

The weather in Nice is mild and breezy in winter, although it’s warmer than other destinations in Northern Europe. 

The city rarely gets snow, but rain is fairly common. 

So why visit in February? Well, the Carnaval de Nice takes place during this month.

This is a must-see event on the French Riviera and it takes place every February with the festivities lasting for two weeks.

The carnival features a colorful parade of floats, with each representing a different theme and accompanied by performers, bands, and dancers. There are also giant puppets!

After the day’s events, you can enjoy fireworks displays in the evening. You’ll enjoy watching the carnival floats light up in a colorful festive atmosphere.

Outside of the carnival are numerous other activities to enjoy while in Nice.

The city’s popular attractions include the Promenade des Anglais, a famous seafront walkway along the Mediterranean Sea.

Visitors can also explore the city’s old town (Vieux Nice), which features pastel-colored homes, narrow streets, and art galleries.

If you’re visiting Nice during carnival season, it’s recommended to reserve your hotel in advance before they are fully booked.

Here’s a list of the best hotels in Nice to choose from – a favorite is the mid-range, cozy and comfortable Hotel Florence Nice.

By Imee from Journey to France

Vik, Iceland

reynisfjara beach in Iceland

If you’re looking for a wintery getaway, Vik in Southern Iceland is lovely in February. 

Located along the southern coastline of Iceland, this tiny fishing village has a lot to offer, from the picturesque center to the sweeping surrounding landscapes.

Come winter, the small town is likely to be blanketed in snow, making the scenery look that much more magical!

Vik is most famous for Reynisfjara, the most famous black sand beach in Iceland.

Reynisfjara is known for its jet-black sand, rugged sea stacks and columnar basalt cliff sides, jutting out of the beach.

During the wintertime, the waves on the beach are quite rough and the wind can be quite gusty, so be sure to bring along plenty of layers to keep you warm!

Another amazing winter experience in Vik is to head to the nearby Katla Ice Cave, which actually forms between the Kötlujökull glacier and the volatile Katla Volcano.

On a tour here, you’ll be able to walk across barren volcanic fields, see the cave’s jaw-droppingly blue walls of ice, and potentially even hike on the glacier!

While Vik has plenty to explore during the day, the real magic appears (if you’re lucky!) at night in February.

Due to its remote location and limited light pollution, Vik is one of the best places in Iceland to see the Northern Lights dance across the night sky; as February still has relatively long, dark nights, you’re in for a higher chance of seeing them! 

While you’re in the village, stay at Hotel Vik i Myrdal, which perfectly marries modern design with Nordic coziness.

By Jessica from Uprooted Traveler

Check out my three-day Iceland in winter itinerary here!

Barcelona, Spain

Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a fantastic destination any time of year, but visiting in February is definitely something special.

Catalonia is significantly warmer and sunnier than many other European destinations during this time of year, making it perfect for those looking to escape the gray winter in other parts of the world.

Enjoy the sun with a long walk on the beach, or take a hiking tour from Barcelona to admire the beautiful nature in the surrounding area.

While Barcelona’s always busy, in February, there are significantly fewer tourists in the city.

Take advantage of the tranquility for beautiful photos without crowds in the background, lower prices, and shorter queues in front of the sights.

View of the city from Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

If you’re looking for events, head to Sitges, an idyllic coastal town just 20 minutes from Barcelona. It hosts an exciting Carnival celebration, considered one of the most colorful and crazy in the area.

Barcelona also has a lot to offer in terms of cuisine in February. Besides the typical Catalan dishes, you should not miss an authentic calçotada.

The so-called Calçots, a Catalan spring onion, are grilled and eaten with a delicious sauce of nuts and peppers – a taste sensation! 

By Vicki from Vicki Viaja

Lanzarote, Spain

Central old square with San Gines church in Arrecife city on Lanzarote island in Spain

If you want to escape Europe’s cold weather in February, head to the Canary Islands, or more specifically, Lanzarote! 

Lanzarote, the easternmost island of the Canary Islands archipelago, is a year-round destination known for its stunning volcanic landscapes, beautiful sandy beaches, and warm weather.

February is a wonderful time to visit the island (as is December, January and any other month of the year!).

Although it’s not the warmest month, the weather is mild and sunny without being too hot, making it ideal for exploring the island’s many natural wonders and outdoor activities.

One of the most popular attractions on this Canary Island is Timanfaya National Park, where you can explore the island’s volcanic terrain and take a guided tour of the park’s stunning landscapes.

The park’s geothermal activity is an incredible sight to behold, with a dramatic erupting geyser. In fact, Timanfaya is Lanzarote’s only active volcano, although it hasn’t erupted since 1730!

Lanzarote has plenty of pristine beaches to choose from, including Famara Beach, on the north coast and the beaches of Playa Blanca on the south coast.

Central square with old church Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe in Teguise village on the sunset on lanzarote island

Lanzarote is also home to several charming towns and villages, such as the capital, Arrecife, and the picturesque village of Yaiza.

Explore the island’s rich history and culture by visiting its many museums and galleries, such as the César Manrique Foundation, which showcases the works of the famous Lanzarote artist and architect.

Bergen, Norway

The historic wooden buildings of Bergen that sit next to the fjord

Bergen is located on the west coast of Norway and is a beautiful and charming city that’s worth visiting year-round.

In February, there isn’t much snow (it happens occasionally, but there’s much more rain!), but this means that you can still get out and about to see the fjords without freezing!

It’s the perfect destination for gastronomy, as the seafood is at its freshest in the winter months. Bergen is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, mainly for its fish! 

You can make the most of the seasons in Bergen in February – Nordnes Sjøbad offers the chance to take a dip in the chilly water – while it’s cold, it’s extremely refreshing and revitalizing, and you can warm up straight away in the sauna or thermal pool!

Swimming in a fjord at Nordnes Baths in Bergen in February

There are also plenty of indoor attractions including the Bryggen Museum which focuses on the city’s complex history and the Bergen Maritime Museum where you’ll learn all about the seafaring history of the western Norwegian city! 

If you do want cooler weather, just head up to the top of Mount Fløyen, where you can enjoy beautiful birds-eye views of the city and walk through the Troll Forest, which is often blanketed with snow! 

View over the historic houses of Bergen with clouds in the sky.

Or, take a train to the nearby city of Voss, which is a prime destination for snow sports. 

Additionally, Bergen is much quieter than in the summer months, when cruise ships dock in the city, and prices are better too (which is welcome in expensive Scandinavia!). 

Visiting February in winter FAQs

Where in Europe is the warmest in February?

You’ll find mild weather in Southern Europe, most notably the Canary Islands, South Spain, Southern Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Nowhere in Europe is particularly hot, but as a general rule of thumb, the further south you go, the more mild temperatures you’ll find!

Which part of Europe is best to visit in February?

It depends on what type of trip you want! You’ll find beautiful beaches and more hours of sunshine in Southern Europe, but head to Northern Europe for more winter wonderlands. Or, visit European cities and enjoy Medieval architecture and buzzing culture. The beautiful city of Paris is a good first stop! 

Is February a cheap month to travel?

February can be a cheap month to visit a range of destinations in Europe. It can be the coldest month in some places, but as long as you pack some warm clothes it’s worth visiting the continent to enjoy the budget-friendly prices and smaller crowds!

Where is hot and cheap in February?

If you’re looking for somewhere that’s budget-friendly and has plenty of sunshine in February, I recommend the south coast of Turkey. Generally, Turkey is an affordable country, and it also has pleasant temperatures throughout the cooler months. Lots of towns and cities on the south coast have fascinating cultural heritage too! 

Which European city is warm in February?

Cities like Malaga and Antalya are warm in February; although don’t expect the entire month to be hot and sunny! However, you will have some days with beautiful weather where you can sit outside, enjoying drinks and local food and even have a few beach days!

What are the best places to visit in February for sun?

The best places to visit in Europe for mild winters include Southern Europe destinations like Turkey, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus. Although February certainly isn’t the warmest month in these countries, you’ll often find beautiful weather in these destinations! 

Are you ready to spend February in Europe? 

This list of popular destinations in Europe in February is all you need to plan a fun winter trip to the continent!

Whether you fancy skiing in the continent’s mountains, visiting islands with plenty of sunshine or enjoying historical attractions in some of the region’s major cities (without the crowds!), there should be a vacation destination for you on this list! 

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